Chasing down security deposits and getting paid for money owed are two of the most common reasons people file small claims suits. But apart from a few restrictions, just about any dispute can be taken to small claims court - provided the amount of money requested falls within the maximum allowed by state law.

In small claims court, there are no attorneys, juries or special courtroom procedures. Most of the time, the only people involved are you, your opponent and the judge.

In recent years many states have increased the maximum amount you can recover. Plus, court judgments have become increasingly simple to collect.

If you've failed to settle your dispute with phone calls and letters, we take the hassle out of filing a small claims case. You don't have to struggle with court forms or time-consuming filing procedures. Simply answer a few questions, and we will take care of the rest. We will create the necessary forms for you and can even file them with the proper court.

Determining the Maximum Claim for a Small Claim

Only civil cases, not criminal cases, can be brought in small claims court. Some of the most common types of cases include:

  •           • Property damage
  •           • Breach of contract and business disputes
  •           • Defective product or unsatisfactory service
  •           • Landlord-tenant disputes
  •           • Fraud
  •           • Accidents and personal injury
  •           • Unpaid debts

However, many types of cases are not suitable for small claims court. For example, if you already have a court judgment in your favor but the person has not paid, then you would need to enforce your current judgment, not file a new case. Small claims court is also not appropriate for landlords seeking to evict a tenant (but it can still be used to collect unpaid back rent).

Furthermore, every state has a monetary limit as to how much you can recover from a small claims case. The maximum claim amounts in California is $7,500.

Filing Your Small Claim Case

In order to begin a small claims action, you must prepare the proper legal documents and file them in the appropriate courthouse.

The legal documents are typically known as "pleadings" or "statements of claim". They set forth the basic facts of the case, such as what happened, where and when, how much you hope to recover, and what attempts you made to obtain payment.

If your case involves a business you own, you will need to file the small claims case on behalf of your company. Corporations, LLCs and sole proprietorships can all take advantage of small claims court. However, you should be aware that sole proprietorships operating under a trade name or DBA must have the DBA registered with the proper government authority. For instance, if John Smith, a sole proprietor, operates his business under the name Speedy Plumbing, then the trade name Speedy Plumbing must be registered before he can bring the small claims case.

Make sure you know the legal name of the person or business you're trying to sue, along with their address and telephone number. Any other information you can obtain, such as the defendant's employer or Social Security number can help you in locate him or her and later, in collecting a judgment.

Where Should You File Your Small Claim?

The general rule as to where to file your case depends on where the defendant lives, or where the action that led to the dispute took place. If you ordered something over the internet, by mail or telephone, your local court will usually have jurisdiction, since your part of the transaction took place locally.

There are of course some exceptions to jurisdiction rules. You can sue a business in your state if the business has an office, warehouse, retail location, or any significant business dealings in your state, even if that business is headquartered somewhere else. If you were involved in an accident or purchased an item through an installment program, then you can file your suit in the area where the accident or sale occurred.

For more information, Contact us today for a free consultation. We make the process simple and affordable. It's not the end, we can gain you an additional 5 to 7 months of additional time in which to prepare to move. You don't have time to waste! You need to contact us today so that we may be of assistance to you immediately.

This assistance includes instructions as to the legal process of evictions, complete preparation of papers to file in court, possible referral to other legal resources, guidance during the settlement conference, and coaching on what to expect.

If you receive a Summons and/or Complaint for Unlawful Detainer (eviction lawsuit), you have 5 calendar days to respond or the landlord can ask for a default judgment and you will lose your chance to contest the eviction. Every day counts! To receive help filing a response, you need to provide us with the Summons and Complaint and as much documentation you have. After enrollment a representative will call you to review the eviction process.

It is best to enroll early in the eviction defense program as we can provide you the most time in the home and can better defend you from the efforts of the landlord/lenders actions. In the most extreme cases our client was able to stay in their home one year after receiving their 3 day notice! This is our best result and doesn't mean that every client will be so lucky.

If you have ignored all of the notices and summons from the court and now are faced with a Sheriffs lock out notice, we may be able to help. Don't wait! Call us now we should be able to gain more time for you. With our Eviction Defense program we will assist you in responding to all requests, demands, motions and filings.

We make the process simple and affordable. For more information Contact us today for a free consultation.


Eviction laws/processes and filings differ from state to state and in some cases even city to city. Results may vary based on each individual situation and location, we may use an associate company for assistance. If you have a court appearance we cannot represent you as we are not attorneys. If you do wish to have an attorney present we can refer you to one of several attorneys we have associations with.